2 policemen killed – Nine American ‘terror’ suspects held in Saudi

RIYADH: Saudi authorities have arrested nine American citizens among 33 “terror” suspects rounded up over the past days, the Saudi Gazette newspaper reported yesterday. Four Americans were arrested on Monday and five others over the past four days, the paper reported citing an unidentified source. The arrests also included 14 Saudis, three Yemenis, two Syrians, an Indonesian, a Filipino, an Emirati, a Kazakhstan national and a Palestinian, the paper said. It did not say if any of the “terror suspects” was linked to the Islamic State group, which has claimed several deadly attacks in the kingdom in recent months.

On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Eastern Province killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up his accomplice who had fired on them. IS did not claim that attack. A Saudi official said one of two attackers who wore explosive belts in the attack was a 22-year-old national. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Mansour Al-Turki identified the attacker in a statement carried late Saturday by the official Saudi Press Agency as Abdulrahman bin Abdullah bin Suleiman Al-Tuwaijri. Tuwaijri and another gunman targeted the Imam Reda Mosque in Al-Ahsa during Friday prayers. Turki said four Saudis were killed and 33 people were wounded in the attack. Tuwaijri detonated his payload during the assault and died. The second attacker is in custody and is being treated for wounds. He was not identified.

The Saudi Gazette said some 532 IS suspects accused of plotting attacks in the kingdom are being questioned ahead of their trial at the criminal court in Riyadh. They are members of six cells arrested in “preemptive” raids across the kingdom and include a Saudi woman and a Filipina, the paper said.

Also on Sunday, the Saudi interior ministry said they were searching for nine suspects allegedly involved in an August suicide bombing that targeted a mosque inside a police headquarters, killing 15 people. IS had claimed the attack in the southern city of Abha. The ministry said in a statement that three other suspects, including a member of the kingdom’s special forces, had been arrested in connection with the Abha mosque bombing. The oil-rich kingdom offered rewards between one million riyals ($276,000) and seven million riyals ($1.87 million) for anyone who helps in the arrest of a suspect or thwarts an attack.

Separately, gunmen killed two Saudi policemen yesterday in an attack in the eastern Qatif region, home to the kingdom’s Shiite minority, police said. The two officers were escorting a truck used for transporting cash when they came under “heavy gunfire from unknown attackers in Sihat in Qatif province”, a spokesman said. The police spokesman, cited by the official SPA news agency, did not say whether the attack was being treated as political or criminal. – Agencies

This article was published on 31/01/2016